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Questions of Belonging: Same-Sex Parenthood and Judaism in Transformation

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Lustenberger Sibylle,
Project Kinship, Reproduction, and Homosexuality: A Perspective on Jewish Israeli Society
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Sexualities
Title of proceedings Sexualities


In Israel, the Orthodox rabbinate has considerable influence on the legal definitions of marriage, parenthood and the Jewish collective in general. This article explores how same-sex couples, faced with rabbinic disapproval of their relationships and parenthood, assert the legitimacy of their families in Jewish Israeli society. While many lesbian women and gay men relate to Judaism as a tradition and national identity rather than as a religion, they do not reject religious practices and definitions altogether. I show through the prism of conversion practices and childbirth celebrations that—in close dialogue with their social environment—they carefully carve out a Judaism that embraces their children and families.